John Dalziel McIver worked at the Bexley Boys Home in south Sydney from 1968 until 1974. 

He was promoted to be manager at the Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys in Indooroopilly, Brisbane, in 1974, where he remained until 1976.  

In 1980, John McIver was promoted to Major by The Salvation Army. He retired in 2004 and remained a member of The Salvation Army

History of Offending

In the 1960s and 70s, it has been reported that John McIver terrorised and abused young boys in his charge at Salvation Army Boys Homes in Sydney and Brisbane, namely Bexley Boys Home and Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys (“Homes”). 

The Royal Commission heard about John McIver’s “brutal” behaviour from survivors who came forward to give evidence against The Salvation Army and its treatment of children in its care. 

John McIver was known among the Homes’ residents for his “kidney punch”, a savage physical punishment John McIver inflicted upon the boys under for any behaviour John McIver deemed as inappropriate. 

It was also reported that John McIver sexually assaulted a resident of the Bexley Boys Home and silenced the boy by telling him he would “beat the life” out of him if he told anyone. The survivor who made the allegation, known only as GA, was paid $40,000 by The Salvation Army as compensation. 

Whilst working at the Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys in Indooroopilly, it has been reported that John McIver burnt a boy’s leg with a cigarette and on another occasion, used a strap to whip a young boy’s genitals. John McIver has also been accused of lashing boys’ naked bodies with a cane or belt after forcing them to take off their trousers and bend over.  

It has further been reported that John McIver was known to orally and anally rape boys as they slept in the dormitories at night in the Homes.  

The Royal Commission heard that in 1975, when he was manager of Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys in Indooroopilly, John McIver wildly whipped a 12-year-old boy with a strap. During the beating, John McIver dislocated the boy’s shoulder. The whistleblower, a retired Salvation Army Major and former Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys in Indooroopilly house parent, Mr Clifford Randall, provided the following recollection of the incident:  

“He went ballistic, McIver grabbed the boy and threw him up against the wall, bruising his face and dislocating his shoulder…” 

“I lost it and threw him [Mr McIver] into his chair.” 

Mr Randall and another staff member attempted to take the boy to the hospital for treatment, however, John McIver refused to let them use the car and instead forced the boy’s arm back into its socket himself.  

Mr Randall reported the incident to the Queensland Department of Children’s Services. In response, John McIver gave Mr Randall and his wife, who was also working as a house parent, 48 hours notice to leave Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys in Indooroopilly. 

Mr Randall complained about John McIver to Brigadier Reddy, the Salvation Army’s then-social secretary, after only being at the Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys in Indooroopilly for a short while. According to Mr Randall, he was advised every time he complained to the Brigadier that all complaints must be made to his manager, even though Mr Randall’s complaints were about the manager (John McIver). Mr Randall was told that the punishments John McIver inflicted on the boys in the Alkira Salvation Army Home for Boys in Indooroopilly did not go beyond what was approved by the State government. 

In 1975, Mr Randall made a report to the Queensland Department of Children’s Services regarding John McIver dislocating a child’s shoulder during a beating. 

In November 1975, the Director of the Queensland Department of Children’s Services contacted The Salvation Army regarding John McIver, writing: 

“Some discussion with Captain McIver who is not at all easy to deal with and who questions the knowledge basis of the Child Care Officers when it comes to dealing with the sort of boy who he has in his Home. Captain McIver’s approach to young people is one of the reasons why this Department has been reluctant to place boys at ‘Alkira’”. 

The Salvation Army didn’t inform John McIver of the allegations against him until 2013. John McIver was dismissed from the Salvation Army in 2014, nearly 30 years after accusations of child abuse were first made against him. 

Justice

n September 2019, John McIver was found guilty of two counts of buggery and two counts of indecent assault. In December 2019, John McIver was sentenced to an aggregate prison term of nine years and six months with a five-year, eight-month and 28 days non-parole period. 

In 2021, John McIver was acquitted of the latest raft of child sex abuse charges. Judge James Bennett found John McIver not guilty of two counts of buggery and three counts of indecent assault from when he was at Bexley Boys’ Home.  

We are specialist abuse lawyers and can help you receive acknowledgement, meaningful apology and financial resolution from those institutions and systems of power that failed to protect you from harm. If you would like advice in relation to a childhood or adult sexual, physical and/or psychological/emotional abuse claim in any jurisdiction in Australia, please reach out to the author, Emily Wright, at Littles Lawyers today. 

Further Abuse Law information written by our Emily Wright can be found on our website.  

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